Double parking, hours in traffic and poor public transport are factors that make Bucharest one of Europe’s most congested cities.
But help is at hand for the capital of city of 2.3 million and newly elected mayor Nicusor Dan from a Romanian-born engineer who is credited with fixing the New York traffic system wants to help Bucharest ease congestion.
Michael Horodniceanu managed projects worth tens of billions of dollars for New York and was traffic commissioner for New York City from 1986 to 1990.
He said Monday that he is offering his services pro bono to Bucharest authorities in exchange for improving his Romanian, which is rusty after he emigrated from communist Romania to Israel in the early 1960s and then to the U.S.
He is now a professor at the Tandon School of Engineering, and heads the Civil and Urban Engineering department.
He said initial changes won’t require a lot of investment, but time and organization.
The public transport network and parking need to be changed to improve traffic flow.
„Changes can be made that won’t require a lot of investment, which will be done over time, but will be organizational change,” he told Digi24.
„The current trend is giving priority to pedestrians who use what we call active transportation such as bicycles, even walking,” and not private cars he said.
He said it was important to improve the bus service and build more bikeways.
„New York has special bridges for pedestrians and bicycles not cars,” he said.
People use private cars too much and there’s no easy way for people to drive to a place and hop on public transport, he said.
Bucharest, once known as ‘Little Paris,’ resembles Paris more than New York, with narrow streets and lots of places where improvements can be made to improve traffic flow, he said.
Authorities need to understand the way people used public transport, he said.
„If they understand that, they can find exact and special solutions for different problems.”
Born in Bucharest, Michael Horodniceanu emigrated to Israel and then came to the U.S. with his family in 1970
He founded the Urbitran Group in 1973. From 1986 to 1990 he was traffic commissioner in New York City.
He taught transportation planning, highway design, traffic engineering, transportation financing, and system safety at the undergraduate and graduate schools of Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-POLY) and Manhattan College.